First United Methodist Church Westfield

Saturday Message – Rev. Mertz’s Last Sunday

Posted by on Jun 11, 2018

Dear Friends,

The first Saturday email I wrote was sometime in the second half of 2011. I don’t really know the date. I do know, however, that after seven years as your pastor, this will be the last one. Most of them have helped me focus on what we are supposed to be about on Sunday mornings – the worship of God. I continue to believe that the heart of our faith is found in our worship of God, and true worship takes place in community. Everything else emanates from there. What we do stems from who we are, and who we are as Christians is primarily shaped as we gather week in and week out to pray, sing, read Scripture, hear the Word of God proclaimed, and join in fellowship.

The Bishop has declared that June 10 is the last Sunday for outgoing pastors, so tomorrow will be my last Sunday at FUMC, as I move back to Princeton with Nancy and prepare to start my new appointment on July 1.  

As have so many others, this Saturday email points us to Sunday worship, and worship this Sunday will be one of the highlights of the year. Tomorrow is Confirmation, and 10 of our youth will stand before the congregation and affirm the vows that were taken at their baptisms. Each of these remarkable young persons has participated in regular group sessions and worked very closely with an adult mentor.

Tonight, a group of wonderful church members will prepare and serve a first-class, restaurant style meal to this year’s Confirmands, their parents, and their mentors. Afterward, volunteers will clear tables, wash dishes, and clean the Social Hall and kitchen. I thank everyone who is helping to make tonight a special evening. Their efforts are a reflection of the vows we take during baptisms to help nurture the children of the church and to help them grow in their Christian faith.

After dinner, the Confirmands, their parents and mentors will move to the sanctuary to rehearse the Service of Confirmation.

Confirmation is one of the most significant services of the year. I hope you will make every effort to be here to support these young Christians and their families, as well as the adult mentors who worked so closely with them. A brief reception will follow in the Fellowship Room to honor the Confirmands.

Our music includes not only the wonderful hymns Lift High the Cross, You Are Mine, and Here I Am, Lord, but two special quartets – one brass and one choral. The music alone makes the day worthwhile.

I hope to see you in church tomorrow as we welcome 10 wonderful young people into full membership in the church, and, more importantly, into a new stage in their life with Christ and their life in the Church.

With every good wish, and with all hope and joy in believing, I remain

Faithfully yours,

David

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Saturday Message

Posted by on Apr 14, 2018

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow is the third Sunday in Easter, and we continue exploring some of the resurrection appearance of Jesus. This week we’ll look at Luke 24, the story of the disciples walking along the Road to Emmaus. You may remember that two followers of Jesus were on the seven-mile trek from Jerusalem to Emmaus, lamenting the fact that the one they had hoped would save the people was now dead and buried. The risen Jesus appeared with them and walked and talked with them on their journey, but they didn’t know who he was.

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Saturday Message

Posted by on Mar 31, 2018

Dear Friends,

Today is the day the Church has historically called Holy Saturday, the day of waiting between Jesus’ crucifixion and death, and his resurrection. Today is the last day of Holy Week during which we remember Christ’s passion and death, and before we celebrate His resurrection.

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Saturday Message

Posted by on Mar 24, 2018

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, the day we recognize Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. It was the last week of his life, and he began the week on the back of a donkey. Not exactly the conquering hero so many had hoped for. More than 2000 years later we continue looking for the same thing—someone to come in power, to challenge our enemies and address the grievances we feel, someone to see the world like we do.

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Saturday Message

Posted by on Mar 18, 2018

Dear Friends,

In church tomorrow we will look at a passage that could hardly be more relevant to some of our deepest needs – John 12:20-33. In it, a group of Greeks come to Philip and say to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” In our heart of hearts, isn’t that what most of us want, as well? When Philip (along with Andrew) reports this to Jesus, Jesus (strangely, to us) begins to talk about his own death. Tomorrow we will try to see what Jesus is saying in his unusual reply to the desire of some newcomers who want to see him.

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Saturday Message

Posted by on Mar 11, 2018

Dear Friends,

As a quick reminder, don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour tonight (remember the aphorism “spring forward, fall back). The hard part is that we all lose one hour of sleep tonight, but the good part is that tomorrow we begin to enjoy more daylight hours and warming temperatures.

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